Study Committee Report Inter-Cultural Ministries: 1990

[1990 Yearbook, page 144]

I. Introduction

The task committed to the Inter-Cultural Ministries Study committee was to report to the 107th Annual Conference with “observations” and “recommendations” concerning what “positive steps” could be taken “to reach out to the unreached within the target areas of Bible Fellowship Churches to further a ministry of establishing ethnic Bible Fellowship Churches.”

After several meetings of confronting the tasks which faced the committee, a Seven Point Outline of Purpose was established to guide our efforts and structure a game plan to accomplish the multi-faceted work involved in dealing with ethnic church planting.

Seven Point Outline of Purpose

1. To establish the theological basis for ethnic church planting.

2. To study the saturation of America by ethnic and cultural diversity.

3. To study the obstacles to ethnic church planting.

4. To establish definitions of terms being used by the Committee, in order to better clarify and inform the reader.

5. To prepare a brief historical view of the Bible Fellowship Church in regard to its past work in ethnic and cultural ministry.

6. To produce a manual to assist the Bible Fellowship Church in ethnic church planting.

7. To present a model for ethnic church planting to the Bible Fellowship Churches.

Assignments were given to the committee members in the following areas; the biblical basis for ethnic church planting, the obstacles which confront ethnic church planting, the listing of a “Values List” involved with ethnic church planting and a historical and statistical review of data relevant to ethnic church planting.

During the discussion surrounding the review of the “Historical Paper”, there were discovered limitations rising out of seven elements from the cultural development of the Bible Fellowship Church. These elements revealed to the Committee some areas which contributed to the present cultural impoverishment of the Bible Fellowship Church. These seven areas resulted from the ecclesiastical formation of the Church, with its Anabaptist-Mennonite world view being counter to and resistant toward the larger cultural context of the churches.

The Leadership Configuration of the early Bible Fellowship Church fostered a restrictive type of parochialism. The Linguistic Antecedent being the German language and The “Pennsylvania Dutch” Characteristics of the early church limited the desire of the church to reach out to and accept into our churches people from other cultures that differed from ours.

The Early Anti-Education Bias of the church has allowed the Bible Fellowship Church, even today, to suffer from cultural deprivation because of almost a century of”anti-intellectualism.”

The Geographic Containment of the Bible Fellowship Church, being limited during the first fifty years of ministry to the agricultural Germanic people of eastern Pennsylvania, laid a foundation for a cultural narrowness.

The Mission Policy of the Bible Fellowship Church throughout the years has been to remain a supporting Board and not the planter of Bible Fellowship Churches in other lands and cultures. While the policy was reasonable and responsible in terms of the economics of mission involvement, it short-circuited the ability of the church and its people to relate to Christian brothers and sisters, and churches among other racial, ethnic, and cultural groups.

In considering these seven points, the committee realized that the Bible Fellowship Church could not go back and undo what has been done, but that it must give itself to the hard work and the “second-mile” effort that will enable the Bible Fellowship Church to transcend these historical limitations.

The work of the Committee continued and after each discussion an ever increasing awareness of the immensity and responsibility of the task involved in ethnic church planting was being sensed by each Committee member. Each discussion opened up new areas of cultural and ethnic nuances which needed to be considered. Statistics had revealed to the Committee that America is a vast mission field. More than 23 million Blacks, 25 million Hispanics, millions of Asians, Eastern European groups and a wide variety of other ethnic people groups are filling up the urban centers of our country and pouring into the newly urbanized suburban areas.

With more than 60 million ethnics in America, speaking over 157 distinct languages, our country is truly a multi-cultural mosaic of opportunity for evangelism and church planting.

The Committee also discussed at length the need to review the Faith and Orderin the light of this cultural diversity and the transcendence necessary in order to reach ethnic people groups. A “Values List” was prepared and an example from the list was formulated in order to show the cultural implications to the Standards of Life and Worship. The example chosen was “Marriage.”

Another discussion focused on the viability of the Board of Missions and the Board of Church Extension working cooperatively in completing the task of ethnic church planting.

In the following two sections of this report, The Obligations/Opportunities/ and Obstacles involved with ethnic church planting are discussed along with The Conclusions and Solutions Offered to the 107th Annual Conference.

Can the Bible Fellowship Church take up the responsibility to plant churches among ethnic people in America? This is the question which pricked at the minds of the Committee and the question which is yet to be adequately answered either by this report or by the Committee. The Committee, as a whole, believes that the Bible Fellowship Church must attempt the work of ethnic church planting and yet the Committee also realizes that the past year of work was only the genesis of a greater and more specific work which needs to be accomplished in order to begin church planting works among ethnics in our target areas of ministry.

The vision now for ethnic church planting will one day be realistically fulfilled as we will see the fruit of this work so beautifully portrayed in the picture drawn for us by Christ and recorded by the beloved apostle John,

“… I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9-10)

II. The Obligations/ Opportunities/ Obstacles

A. The Obligation to the Task of Ethnic Church Planting.

There is no greater impetus to do ministry than when we reflect upon the Scriptures and hear God challenge us to fulfill his commands and desires. James admonishes the church to be “doers” of the word we have been entrusted with (James 1:22) and Christ labeled the person who carries out the work in action, a “house upon a rock” (Mt. 7:24). If it is true, and we believe it to be that God is pleased and man is blessed when the Biblical mandates are carried out and the examples of righteousness and justice expressed in His word are modeled, then we must say that reaching out to ethnic people from all tribes, tongues, and nations, is pleasing to our God. It is pleasing to Him because Scripture is replete with references and examples of God’s desire and command to take the Gospel to all people and establish churches among them, especially those ethnics in our own Jerusalems and Judeas.

The Biblical challenge and responsibility to evangelize people from other cultures begin with God’s very first statements about His intention to provide salvation to all the families of the earth.

He said to Abraham and Jacob:

“And I shall bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

“Your descendants shall also be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread out to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth will be blessed: (Gen. 28:14).

In the genealogy of our Lord and His earthly ministry, the inclusion of all people in the plan of salvation is evident.

In Christ’s Genealogy, it states:

“and to Salmon was born Boaz by Rahab (Canaanite), and to Boaz was born Obed by Ruth (Moabite); and to Obed, Jesse…” (Mt. 1:5).

To the Syro-Phoenician woman He said:

“And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from the master’s table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.” (Mt. 15:26-28)

The Great Commission to make disciples of all nations and the explosion of the Holy Spirit on the scene at the day of Pentecost, bringing together diverse people from all nations, witnesses to the intention of God’s plan including every ethnic group on earth.

“And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth, Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt. 28:18-20)

“And how is it that we hear them in our own language to which we were born. Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phyrgia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jew and Proselytes, Cretans and Arabs…we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” (Acts 2:8-11).

The earliest church at Jerusalem accepted Peter’s testimony that the salvation of Cornelius was evidence that God is not partial to one race.

“And as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say, “John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way? (Acts 11:15-18)

Further evidence of our Biblical obligation to do ethnic church planting is given in the scriptural model of the Abrahamic Covenant of Promise, the model of the Incarnate Christ, and the model of Paul’s Priority of Missions and Church Planting.

With Abram, God did not merely suggest to Abram the idea of leaving his home and family and traveling to another place and people. He commanded Abram to “Go, get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred…” (Gen. 12:1). This movement from Ur to Haran, and then to Canaan, established the most significant cultural trek in all of human history. The following promise in Gen. 12:2-3, “…all peoples on the earth will be blessed through you,” hones in on God’s desire to save a people from out of all the ethnic groups He has created.

The model of Christ’s Incarnation and His earthly ministry is fundamental to a theology of ethnic church planting. The Scriptures tell us that, “the word became flesh and dwelt among us,” (Jn. 1:14). The cultural implications of the incarnation demonstrate to us Christ’s divine desire to go beyond cultural barriers and take upon Himself the Jewish-Aramaic race, the ethnic habits (eating, dress, language), and a total obedience to the Law given to the culture. In this greatest of all enculturational models, we see the precedent for the church to seek to establish churches among ethnic people groups.

Christ worked out this incarnational model during the course of His earthly ministry. He intentionally set up His pulpit in Galilee, where the area was known for the traveling caravans of Gentile foreigners and where the Galilean people were considered to be outcasts from their Judean brothers because of their dealings with foreigners.

In Capernaum, He ministered to a Roman centurion and his family (Mt. 8:5). In Tyre, He ministered to a Syro-Phoenician woman (Mk. 7:26). In Sidon, He healed a deaf man (Mt. 7:32). It was the Samaritan ministry which became the setting for His tremendous dialogue with the woman by the well and later to her people in Sychar (Jn. 4). John Perkins, noted urban missiologist, at a seminar observed that Christ’s ministry in Samaria was the greatest example of entering an ethnic (racial) context. Christ’s commitment to go to Samaria ended in the establishment of a core of believers (Jn. 4:41,42).

In the Pauline Model of Missionary-Church Planter, we see the apostle who never lost sight that the progression of the Gospel and the fulfillment of the Great Commission was centered in reaching the masses of the Gentile world. From his first missionary journey, Paul set forth the priority of establishing churches among the Gentile ethnic world. This emphasis was declared in his writing to Timothy,

“but the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the gentiles might hear…” (2 Tim. 4:17).

The planting of churches in the first century gentile world provided a foundation for growth in the new church and for edification in the church as a whole. In the book of Acts and some of the Pauline Epistles, we read of the joyous reaction by the corporate body as Paul would tell of the Gentiles receiving Christ and forming churches (Acts 14:27,28; 15:1-31; Gal. 1:23-24).

In the early days, Bible Fellowship Church people sang,

“Out of every kindred and tongue,

Redeemed, redeemed

this shall be the glad new song,

Redeemed, redeemed.”

We sang it and meant it. What a joy to anticipate meeting at Jesus’ coming men and women from many lands and cultures who are blood bought through His death.

It is easy to apply this only to people from other countries to whom we sent missionaries. The same joy will flow from reaching those whom God brings near us from those lands and cultures.

Although our country has many problems, it has also many opportunities. Those opportunities are the reasons many have moved from their native lands to this land. Despite the opportunities offered in America, there also exist many injustices. There is racism, greed, materialism, and pride. Believers must identify and acknowledge these problems. God calls His people to demonstrate love for people of other backgrounds by sharing in their needs and in undertaking for the oppressed as His people practice justice and mercy (Deut. 10;17-19; Gen. 18:19; James 2:14-17).

We must acknowledge that injustice and oppression exist. We must admit that we have professed faith in Christ, but have not consistently practiced justice and mercy.

These responsibilities and obligations to serve the needy and oppressed are not optional, but are necessary for the people of God (Micah 6:8).

These words from our past give expression to what can come from taking seriously God’s Word to us and our circumstances:

“We’re pilgrims and strangers below, We’ve left this vain world with its show; With our Lord by our side, as our Comfort and Guide, Our hearts are contented, our souls all aglow.

“We’ve entered the great harvest field, Our lives to His service we yield; We have counted the cost, we are seeking the lost, Depending on Jesus, our Strength and our Shield.

With patience we’re running the race, And trusting His nev’er failing grace; For Jesus, our Friend, will sustain to the end, And bring us to glory to see His blest face.

O! What a glad meeting ’twill be, When Jesus, our Lord, we shall see; We will praise Him for aye, in that bright fadeless day For what He has done for poor sinners like we.

Out of every kindred and tongue, Redeemed, Redeemed. This shall be the glad new song, Redeemed, Redeemed.”

The Biblical statements depicting God’s desire to minister among ethnics and the Biblical models demonstrating the recurring work among ethnic groups are sufficient evidence to present the obligation we have, as the church of Jesus Christ, to seek out the ethnic people groups amid our sphere of ministry and form Bible Fellowship churches.

B. The Opportunities in America To Work Among Ethnics!

There is a great movement of the world to the United States. America has the second largest Black population of any country in the world. It has the fourth largest Hispanic population in the world. Chicago is the second largest Polish city in the world and the U.S. has the largest Jewish population in the world.

The Los Angles area is the second largest Spanish center, next to Mexico City (L.A. is now 72% non-anglo American). It is predicted that by the year 2,000, there will be 50 major cities in the U.S. with predominantly ethnic populations.

In America, there are over 1.2 million Native Americans (American Indians) living in over 500 clans and tribes. There are 69,700 Native Americans who live in the six states among which the Bible Fellowship Church is presently distributed. The percentage of Native Americans not active in churches is 92%.

African Americans are a resilient people who have survived many injustices which have been inflicted upon them by different societies during the course of history. Two of the four largest urban concentrations of African Americans in the U.S. lie within the present borders of Bible Fellowship Church territory, the New York-New Jersey Metroplex, with its close to 3 million African Americans and the greater Philadelphia area with close to 1.5 million. Just beyond are Washington D.C. with 1 million and Baltimore with close to 600,000.

Hispanic Americans are comprised of many ethnic sub-groups. The largest is Mexican, then Puerto Rican. Other groups include: Cubans, Central & South Americans, Filipinos and five or six other Hispanic ethnic sub-groups.

Statistics from the 1980 Census reveal that five of the top 10 and 13 of the highest 25 metropolitan statistical area concentrations of Puerto Ricans, outside of Puerto Rico, are in the States in which Bible Fellowship Churches are located. The U.S. is becoming the greatest and most needy Spanish mission field in the world.

Asian Americans from both the Far East and Middle East are making America metropolitan areas their homes. Three of the largest concentrations of Chinese Americans in metropolitan statistical areas are within states served by the Bible Fellowship Church.

The number of Koreans coming to America quadrupled during the seventies. Large numbers of Vietnamese, Laotians, Thais and Cambodians are evident within Bible Fellowship target areas.

Concentrations of Asian Indians are located around New York and New Jersey. Many of these Indians are Hindu. In and around Philadelphia, there are also many Asian Indians.

There are at least 500,000 Iranians in the U.S. and a number of Palestinians live in the eastern U.S.

Euro-Americans have always been prevalent in the U.S. before and after the days of Ellis Island. One of the newest Bible Fellowship Churches in Spencer Ma., is surrounded by many people of French background. In Brooklyn, the French language influence is evident in the 400,000 Haitians living there.

In the Ironbound section of Newark N.J., there is a huge and growing concentration of Portuguese residents. Brother Toto Baran, a member of the Newark Bible Fellowship Church, senses a desire to plant a church among these Portuguese people, but lacks the language skills and finances to do so at this time.

All of these snapshots of the multi-cultural makeup of our country have highlighted the hundreds of ethnic groups in the U.S., most of them represented within the current territory served by the Bible Fellowship Church and most likely some, if not many, present in each community or municipality where our churches are located. The churches are under “obligation” (Rom. 1:14) to identify these groups and see that these peoples are being evangelized.

Our churches now have the “opportunity” to reach the nations of the world right in their own backyards. This is a ripe time in history and the church must respond. In contrast to foreign missions and church planting in other counties, evangelizing the ethnic people within our target areas costs less money and involves less travel and traveling requirements.

The presence of so many differing ethnic groups in America affords the church the added opportunities of edifying its people and re-examining its Standards of Worship and Life and their application in light of Biblical revelation. The Bible Fellowship Church would be edified by the establishment of ethnic works and challenged to take a closer look at how the church’s principles of worship and life impact ethnic church planting.

The churches at Antioch and Jerusalem rejoiced in hearing how the Gospel was reaching many different Gentile people and how churches were being planted among them (Acts 14:21). The testimony of God saving a people unto Himself from within the nations of the world stimulates the church’s fervor to evangelize and strengthens its walk with the Lord. Paul writes that Christians throughout Macedonia and Achaia “sounded forth” their joy of hearing how many of the Thessalonians were turning from their pagan idols and receiving Christ (1 Thes. 1:7-9). The testimony of a church which seeks out the lost from every tribe and tongue is a tremendous encouragement to its people. Reaching ethnic people in our midst gives the church the opportunity to have its people edified and experience the wonderful joy of meeting exciting people along with the practical understanding of how our Lord can “make the two into one man, thus establishing peace” (Eph. 2:14-15).

This opportunity for the church to evaluate its standards and principles in light of ethnic and cultural differences, is extremely profitable. What values should be part of the life of every believer regardless of his ethnic origin or cultural context? Should our standards be changed in light of these differences? Are there standards we hold that reflect more of a historic culturally shaped tradition rather than a biblical directive? How do we keep from compromising doctrine yet appreciate the culture of our ethnic brothers and sisters? In light of these questions, we develop “value statements” which are culturally transferable in the following areas: Worship, Holiness, Stewardship, Justice, Mercy, Love, Humility, Marriage, Family, Christian Liberty and Servanthood, Materialism and Work, Civil Government. An example of evaluating the standard of “Marriage” was prepared in order to give Annual Conference a model of what may be entailed in reviewing the Standards of Life and Worship. (see Appendix A).

The opportunities involved in ethnic church planting are numerous. The opportunity of reaching ethnics who are well within our ministry target areas confronts us dramatically. The opportunity to expedite our mission thrust in terms of economics and logistics cannot be overlooked. The opportunity to build up our churches through the witness of a church that desires to reach ALL the lost provides practical edification for our people. Finally, the opportunity to evaluate ourselves in light of culture and biblical directives provides the church with the means of developing a clearer view of the absolutes of God’s Word.

C. The Obstacles In Inter-Cultural Church Planting

Preliminary Presuppositions God has given “culture” to mankind to demonstrate His power, provide opportunities to bring glory to Himself, and give means for the Gospel to reach culture effectively.

Each culture has areas of beauty, reflecting God’s work in the world and also of sin ingrained in its life.

Introductory Statements to the Obstacles! A person’s own culture limits his ability to be open and accepting of other cultures. One’s own culture becomes the standard for right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. It also provides the basis for judging another culture.

“Values” are what one has accepted to be “true or right.” It is in this area where cultures clash. Because a person usually lives in a “homogeneous cultural unit,” he rarely, if ever, has his values challenged, and is therefore threatened and defensive when another culture calls into question his value. A person usually thinks that the other culture is wrong. In Sherwood Lingenfelter and Marvin Mayer’s book, Ministering Cross-Culturally, they list tensions which can arise concerning the basic values of each culture; time orientation / event orientation, dichotomistic thinking/ holistic thinking, crisis orientation / non-crisis orientation, task orientation / person orientation, status focus / achievement focus, concealment of vulnerability / willingness to expose vulnerability. An example of one of these tensions is given by the authors in regard to time orientation versus event orientation. They give the example from their experience with the Yap Evangelical Church.

On one particular Sunday, the Senior Pastor and head of the churches of Palua had come to Yap to speak to the local Palauan congregation. Because of the special nature of the service, he was not finished when it came time for the Yapese service at 11:00. A dear German sister, veteran of 30 years in Yap and Palua, bustled around impatiently at the bottom of the hill until she could contain herself no longer. Abruptly she ordered a Yapese girl to go up and ring the bell… When the Yapese pastor realized what had happened, he was mortified and apologized to the Palauan pastor… saying, “We Yapese don’t care when the service begins; we are happy to wait until our Palauan brothers are finished” (Lingenfelter/Mayers, p. 37).

A person feels comfortable with people most like himself. Therefore, the differences posed by other cultures make him feel uncomfortable. The end result is that he usually retreats more defensively and is more closed to the differences.

The cultural context in which a person is raised and lives tends to hinder his ability to look at God’s Word in an unbiased way. Because this is true, a less than objective value system and declarations of right and wrong are developed. Obviously, this provides areas of great cultural tension because Christians in each culture believe they are biblically correct.

Color and physical difference heighten cultural close-mindedness and develop a superiority or inferiority approach to other cultures. Sometimes “whys” asked about the differences of other cultures are expressions of superiority and not an attempt at understanding.

Stereotypes and generalizations given to cultural groups thwart honest, objective openness to that cultural group and prevent viewing the people in that cultural group as individuals made in the image of God.

The economic level of a particular person in a cultural group makes the obstacles even harder to overcome.

Looking specifically at Obstacles! We could note that some obstacles fall into perceived and methodological categories.

Since most ethnics live in the city and the city is perceived as a place of evil, many ethnic groups are distrusted and looked upon as inferior.

Another false perception is that America is a “melting pot” where people who come to America eventually become the same. The truth is many ethnics; Black, Hispanic, Asians, etc., desire to retain their cultural uniqueness. Unless one understands that cultural diversity is God-given and that it is through an understanding of diversity that unity is achieved, these unique cultural groups will be viewed as wrong and inferior. It is from this misperception that the ugly head of racism rises.

A final common perception views overseas missions as more important than U.S. based ministry, even if both are ministering to the same people group. This attitude is reflected in the proportion of money and personnel committed to church planting in America.

In the area of methodological obstacles, there is a lack of men and money committed to the task of ethnic church planting here in our target areas. Most efforts in this work are long term and need significant investments by the church and its people.

Developing ethnic leaders is difficult, especially male leadership. They need role models and disciplers from our churches. Some of our requirements for ordination are also problematic. For example, the Bible Fellowship Church policy of requiring a man to serve six months full-time in order to qualify for ordination, could discourage the ethnic leader who must work and minister at the same time. It could disqualify a man who is called of God, knowledgeable in God’s Word, skilled in the culture and trained in effective cultural ministry. His valuable leadership and ministry skills are needed within the Bible Fellowship Church.

Every culture has to wrestle with how it applies the principles of Scripture to its cultural context. We must look at each other’s culture and understand the application of Biblical principles as they are practiced within each believer’s culture. Therefore, a church’s application of a Biblical principle to its own cultural setting does not become the standard for another church’s application of that same principle to its differing cultural setting.

Even though the obstacles listed are significant and demand an enormous amount of work in order to overcome, the obligations to do ethnic church planting and the opportunities which God has brought here and now, far outweigh the load of barriers this work faces. The same encouragement which was given in the Great Commission is presented to the church today. We can go in the midst of tremendous obstacles because Christ said,

“Go…and lo I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:19,20).

III. Offered Solutions and Conclusions

Before offering some solutions which the Committee brings to Annual Conference, the Committee would like to commit itself to a willingness to assist any Bible Fellowship Church who would be willing to attempt to work on an inter-cultural church planting project, or to reach out to ethnics in its area of ministry. The whole-hearted desire and prayer of this Committee is that all Bible Fellowship Churches, and their people, become the World Christians God has called them to be and have a profound commitment to the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior.

Offered Solutions!

1. If you are anticipating an ethnic ministry or have contacts with people from a different culture, these following practical helps may assist in your relating to the ethnic person God has led by your way:

– Be Genuine! Be open and honest and respect each other’s cultural distinctiveness.

– Understand The Culture Of Another Person! Learn about the current events from the ethnic’s country of origin (magazines, news releases, etc.). Ask the ethnic to teach you about his culture. Listen and observe the small nuances of culture (food, dress, schedules, etc.).

– Know The Individual As A Friend! Make a friend, not an acquaintance, or worse, a “target” for evangelism. Establish the right to share your value system by befriending him.

– Understand Possible Sources of Cultural Conflict! Most ethnics have a totally different way of thinking than an anglo-american (non-crisis vs. crisis, event oriented vs. time oriented, person oriented vs. task oriented). The apparent insensitivity of Americans is a problem. In America we say, “You must come over to my house for dinner,” and in many cases this even does not take place, it is only a social gesture. But the ethnic looks upon this invitation as the beginning of a relationship and is disappointed if the invitation is not followed through. Time is viewed by the ethnic in a different way. For him time is flexible and long term, especially in forming relationships. The emphasis is upon events not time. Also, ethnics may be apprehensive to engage in intellectual or theological dialogues because of their lack of communicational skills.

– Terminology! Each culture has “code” words and actions which may mean something different to each person. A careful usage of terms is necessary when dealing with an ethnic person along with a wise use of actions.

2. In order for our churches to realize the opportunity each has in the area of ethnic church planting, the Committee suggest that each Bible Fellowship Church do a demographic study of its community, in terms of finding out how many ethnics live in their community and who they are. This could be accomplished through the church’s Mission Committee, a Sunday School Class, a Youth Project, etc. The Committee could provide the needed assistance for producing this evaluation. When the surveys are completed, a copy should be submitted to the committee for further considerations and study.

3. A review of the Bible Fellowship Church’s “Standards of Worship & Life” and its Faith and Order as a whole, as to their cultural relativity and ethnic transcendence would be a positive step toward evangelizing ethnics and including them in the body of Christ without any unnecessary yokes. This work could be accomplished by the Inter-Cultural Committee and sub-committees it would establish throughout the Conference to assist in the review, along with the Board of Missions and the Board of Church Extension in order to complete such an enormous and intricate undertaking.

4. If Conference were to allow the Inter-Cultural Committee to continue its work into the next year, the Committee would work toward the formulation of an ethnic church planting “Model.” In conjunction with the Board of Missions and the Board of Church Extension, the Committee would seek to establish a model which could become a practical example to our churches of how to go about attempting an ethnic work in their ministry area.

5. From this Model and the vast amount of helpful information which has been gathered during this past year’s work and that which will come from future work, a “Manual” for ethnic church planting could be produced. Our churches and others could refer to this Manual as they consider and work at ethnic ministry. THEREFORE,

WHEREAS, it has been documented by the Inter-Cultural Ministries Study Committee, as to the Biblical obligation the church has to seek out ethnic groups and establish churches among them; and

WHEREAS, the opportunities for ethnic church planting are well within the target areas of the Bible Fellowship churches, and God has sovereignly brought the nations of the world to our churches; and

WHEREAS, it is the shared opinion of the Inter-Cultural Committee that we must move ahead to develop a model and manual for ethnic church planting, along with a review of the “Standards of Worship and Life” of the Bible Fellowship Church as they compare with the cultural demands involved in ethnic church planting; therefore be it

RESOLVED, that the 107th Annual Conference allow the Inter-Cultural Ministries Study Committee to continue its work on ethnic church planting and report back to the 108th Annual Conference of the Bible Fellowship Church with a report of its progress toward the development of a “Model” and “Manual” for ethnic church planting and its review of the “Standards of Life and Worship” in light of cultural demands; and further

RESOLVED, that each Bible Fellowship Church be encouraged to complete a demographic study of their ministry target area and its opportunity for ethnic ministry among the community into which God has placed it and that the Inter-Cultural Committee assist the churches in accomplishing this task.

The Inter-Cultural Ministries Study Committee: Roy A. Hertzog, Chairman; David E. Gundrum, Secretary; Delbert R. Baker II, Carl C. Cassel, David H.C. Sng, Daniel G. Ziegler

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